|The first ever photo that I took starting in 2008.|
|And 7651 shots later...|
For somebody who prior to 2007 had attended an anime convention in a mall, FanimeCon was a big shocker to me. The cosplay, the Dealers Hall, the events, everything. I still remember some of the early moments that quickly defined my presence there: seeing Hiroyuki Yamaga and telling him how much of an Evangelion fan, and making a complete fool out of myself the first time I attended Masquerade with the phrase "I went there." There's also the following video:
I still remember that Masquerade, which was dubbed "The Hare Hare Yukari Masquerade Massacre." If you don't know the story, the FanimeCon 2008 Masquerade featured five Haruhi Suzumiya skits, all of them containing the ending song Hare Hare Yukai with the "iconic" dance. The first skit had the song, the last skit had the song, and three skits in the middle got booed just for HAVING THE SONG. Our team thought we had a good skit but by the time the back end of the skit order went up everyone had left due to the disgust of hearing the Hare Hare Yukai.
As the years went along, the convention got bigger and bigger. Wikipedia puts 2007's numbers at 12,000, compared to the projected 27,000 to 30,000 for this year - more than double! And with a bigger convention, the guests and events got more "prestigious" and massive: FLOW, Halko Momoi, Tohru Furuya, Daisuke Ishiwatari, the Yamaga-san Party, Black and White Ball, the emergence of Stage Zero, and much more.
Despite the jump in attendance, FanimeCon has relatively stayed a close-knit group that you just can't find anywhere else in the convention scene today. And all of us have pitched in one way or another, which drives that "By Fans, For Fans" ideal that this convention holds true to its heart. You may get lost in the sea of attendees at some conventions, but it doesn't seem that way here and everyone knows each other in some form or fashion.
So what does this convention hold for the next 20 years? If the declaration of Fanime Day holds any indication, the city of San Jose will continue to support this convention and the fans, from all walks of life, will continue to shape the legacy of this convention's lifetime - something that few conventions can say about themselves.
This convention was three years in the making, and I found a good time to come back to my roots and continue doing what I love. If I could replay this convention, I would of done more things and saw the many people that I missed. Granted, there's only so much time within a four-day convention and everyone is getting adjusted to the newest timing, such as traveling between the convention and the Fairmont for panels, or the potential wait times for registration under this new system (which hopefully can remain near zero and away from "Line Con" status). Like all other adjustments done over the years, people will adapt and improve on last year.
I keep saying that this year was the best FanimeCon ever, but I feel that I can no longer say that because each year was the best on its own merit.
The only potential challenge that I can see arising is not from the convention scene, but from our very own lives. We're getting to that age where careers and families are started, and I've seen this from people that I know. I want to keep coming back year after year but at some point reality is going to stick itself at the center much like what happened between during that three-year absense. And with all challenges, you take it head-on, bowl through them, and await your next destination.
I would like to thank all the staffers that made this convention possible especially Wolfgang, who ends his tenure with the closing of FanimeCon 2014. I give you the best of luck in your future endeavors.
I would also like to thank my staffers that bonded with me over the weekend and maintained our mission to share our stories, trials, and tribulations: Nate, Ray, and Lucas. I also wanted to thank everyone who has worked with me over the years - Ryan, Tom, Robbie, Sierra, and Tally - who have also maintained said mission.
And finally, you, the fans: I keep saying this year after year - without your readership, support, and feedback, we would be telling these stories to a bunch of zeroes and ones.
Because I skipped FanimeCon last year to attend Anime Expo, I'm flipping that for this year: FanimeCon but no Anime Expo. I'm also deconfirmed for SacAnime Summer; I couldn't get time off from work for the summer edition. However, I did get off the NorCal Summer Cosplay Gathering in August off and I'm still debating if I'm going to cosplay and/or just shoot photos all day. PMX and/or the newly announced Miku Con/Expo is still a long shot, depending on how everything looks especially towards next year's Otakon Vegas.
Thank you for reading my report.
-FanimeCon 2014 Report End-